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Development of a novel clinical scoring system for on-farm diagnosis of bovine respiratory disease in pre-weaned dairy calves.

  • Author(s): Love, William J
  • Lehenbauer, Terry W
  • Kass, Philip H
  • Van Eenennaam, Alison L
  • Aly, Sharif S
  • et al.

Published Web Location

https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.238
Abstract

Several clinical scoring systems for diagnosis of bovine respiratory disease (BRD) in calves have been proposed. However, such systems were based on subjective judgment, rather than statistical methods, to weight scores. Data from a pair-matched case-control study on a California calf raising facility was used to develop three novel scoring systems to diagnose BRD in preweaned dairy calves. Disease status was assigned using both clinical signs and diagnostic test results for BRD-associated pathogens. Regression coefficients were used to weight score values. The systems presented use nasal and ocular discharge, rectal temperature, ear and head carriage, coughing, and respiratory quality as predictors. The systems developed in this research utilize fewer severity categories of clinical signs, require less calf handling, and had excellent agreement (Kappa > 0.8) when compared to an earlier scoring system. The first scoring system dichotomized all clinical predictors but required inducing a cough. The second scoring system removed induced cough as a clinical abnormality but required distinguishing between three levels of nasal discharge severity. The third system removed induced cough and forced a dichotomized variable for nasal discharge. The first system presented in this study used the following predictors and assigned values: coughing (induced or spontaneous coughing, 2 points), nasal discharge (any discharge, 3 points), ocular discharge (any discharge, 2 points), ear and head carriage (ear droop or head tilt, 5 points), fever (≥39.2°C or 102.5°F, 2 points), and respiratory quality (abnormal respiration, 2 points). Calves were categorized "BRD positive" if their total score was ≥4. This system correctly classified 95.4% cases and 88.6% controls. The second presented system categorized the predictors and assigned weights as follows: coughing (spontaneous only, 2 points), mild nasal discharge (unilateral, serous, or watery discharge, 3 points), moderate to severe nasal discharge (bilateral, cloudy, mucoid, mucopurlent, or copious discharge, 5 points), ocular discharge (any discharge, 1 point), ear and head carriage (ear droop or head tilt, 5 points), fever (≥39.2°C, 2 points), and respiratory quality (abnormal respiration, 2 points). Calves were categorized "BRD positive" if their total score was ≥4. This system correctly classified 89.3% cases and 92.8% controls. The third presented system used the following predictors and scores: coughing (spontaneous only, 2 points), nasal discharge (any, 4 points), ocular discharge (any, 2 points), ear and head carriage (ear droop or head tilt, 5 points), fever (≥39.2°C, 2 points), and respiratory quality (abnormal respiration, 2 points). Calves were categorized "BRD positive" if their total score was ≥5. This system correctly classified 89.4% cases and 90.8% controls. Each of the proposed systems offer few levels of clinical signs and data-based weights for on-farm diagnosis of BRD in dairy calves.

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